NHL Playoffs: Panthers advance, Rangers and Stars force Game 7
The NHL Playoffs will deliver five Game 7 contests this weekend thanks to both the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars winning on May 13, 2022.
In Dallas, the Stars staved off elimination with a tie-breaking goal by Miro Heiskanen late in the second period and held on to beat the Calgary Flames. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Rangers climbed out of a 2-0 hole after the first period and a erased a 3-1 series deficit against the Penguins to force Game 7 in New York.
The Florida Panthers became the third team in this year’s postseason to advance to Round 2. Carter Verhaeghe scored early in the extra session to give the Panthers their first playoff series win since 1996 by defeating the Washington Capitals.
On Saturday, the NHL will have three Game 7 matchups starting with the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes at 4:30 PM ET. That will be followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 PM ET and then the Los Angeles Kings versus the Edmonton Oilers at 10:00 PM ET.
NHL Playoffs: Panthers 4 vs Capitals 3 (OT)
Carter Verhaeghe’s goal 2:46 into overtime gave the Florida Panthers a series-clinching 4-3 victory over the host Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Coming off a franchise-record and NHL-high 122 points in the regular season, Florida won its first postseason series since the 1996 Eastern Conference finals, the longest playoff drought of any team in the NHL. The Panthers are headed to the second round to face the winner of the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Verhaeghe also scored the overtime winner in Game 4, adding to a spectacular series for the Panthers forward. With a goal and an assist in Game 6, Verhaeghe led all players with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in the series. Verhaeghe was a game-time decision to even take the ice in Game 6, after missing the morning skate with an undisclosed injury.
Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists, fueling the Panthers’ third consecutive comeback win. With the Capitals leading 2-1 through 48 minutes of play, Giroux equalized at 8:18 of the third period, then recorded helpers on both Aleksander Barkov’s go-ahead goal and Verhaeghe’s overtime winner.
“For a little while it felt like, what’s happening right now? During my nine-year career here, I haven’t been to the second round or past the first round, so it feels great,” Barkov said. “But at the same time, I know there’s a lot of work to do. Right now, I enjoy this and get back to work tomorrow or whenever.”
Nic Dowd, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie all scored for Washington, with all three players coming close to hero status. Dowd hit two posts in the third period, Backstrom’s third-period goal gave the Capitals the lead, and Oshie forced overtime with a power-play marker with 63 seconds left in regulation.
“I think you see how we played against the best team in the regular season,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We have it, but we just blow it away. It is on us. It is on me, on Backy, on Osh, on Carly. It is on everybody. Kinda f**ked up situation.”
Rangers 5 vs Penguins 3
Chris Kreider’s second goal of the night was the tiebreaker with 1:28 left in the third period as visiting New York topped Pittsburgh to set up a Game 7 in the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Kreider’s slapshot from the left point popped off of and over Louis Domingue to break a 3-3 tie. Andrew Copp added an empty-netter with 26.4 seconds left, completing New York’s rally from a 2-0 deficit. Mika Zibanejad had two goals and two assists while Adam Fox had four assists for the Rangers, who have won two straight to even the series.
“We’ve got 20 something comeback wins this year,” said Adam Fox. “We’ve been saying No Quit New York all year, just a great effort by everyone. It was nice to get the win.”
Jeff Carter, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, and Domingue made 33 saves. Pittsburgh played without captain Sidney Crosby, who left Game 5 after a high hit by New York’s Jacob Trouba. Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday in New York.
“I didn’t see our team getting rattled. The demeanor on the bench is fine,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “The conversation on the bench amongst the players is fine. I didn’t see that at all. You have to give their team credit. They have a really good team over there too.”NHL.com
Stars 4 vs Flames 2
Miro Heiskanen scored the winning goal and host Dallas forced Game 7 in its Western Conference first-round series against Calgary.
“I know we’re not supposed to still be playing, we’re supposed to be on a golf vacation right now, but that wasn’t our intention going in,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “As I said right off the bat, we didn’t get into the playoffs to be somebody else’s steppingstone in the second round. Here we are going into a Game 7, and our guys deserve a lot of credit.”NHL.com
Roope Hintz and Michael Raffl each had a goal and an assist and Tyler Seguin added an empty-net tally for the Stars. Jake Oettinger made 36 saves for the win.
Michael Stone collected one goal and one assist, and Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames. Jacob Markstrom stopped 36 shots.
“It’s hard to win the last one,” Flames forward Elias Lindholm said. “A lot of us haven’t been past the first round, and it’s something we’ve got to hopefully get done on Sunday.”
NHL Free Agent Frenzy Tracker 2022 Offseason
–Field Level Media contributed to this article